While baccarat has a lot of complicated rules the good news is
that you don't need to know them to play.
Contrary to the James Bond movies, baccarat does not
involve any decision making after your initial bet is placed.
Another good thing about baccarat is that it pays well, with a
casino advantage of only 1.06% if you bet on the "bank." I
must confess, however, I find baccarat rather mindless
and boring since it
does not involve any player participation, other than making
the initial bet.
Baccarat vs. Mini-Baccarat
The difference between baccarat and mini-baccarat is mostly the
atmosphere, not the rules. The casinos usually have a roped off
area for baccarat, complete with dealers in tuxedos and lots of
chandeliers. The minimums are high and the procedure of the game
is different from mini-baccarat. Personally I'm too poor to play
in the baccarat room. Mini-baccarat is played at a table that
about the size of a blackjack table. The rules are the same but
the dealer controls everything and it doesn't have the glamour of
The following is from "Baccarat score card" from the Claridge
Casino/Hotel in Atlantic City:
Baccarat is begun by placing a wager on either the
Banker's or Player'shand. Two cards are dealt from
a shoe to each hand. The first hand represents those betting on
the Player, the second on the Banker. A third card
may be dealt to either hand in accordance with the rules shown in
the table below. The winning hand is the one with the point
total closest to 9. Tens, cards totaling ten and picture cards
count as zero. An ace is counted as one. All numbered cards 1
through 9 count at face value. If the cards total a two digit
number, only the last number counts (example 4+9=13; 13 counts as
3). Bets are paid even money but a 5% commitssion is charged on
winning Banker bets. A bet on a tie hand may be made
which pays 8 to 1.
I am going to summarize the table of rules that stipulate when a
third card(s) is/are dealt as follows:
If two of the above rules seem to contradict go with the rule
- If either the player or the banker have a total of an 8 or a
9 they both stand. This rule overrides all other
- If the player's total is less than or equal to 5 the player
draws a card, otherwise the player stands.
- If the player does not draw a third card, then the Banker's
hand stands on a total of 6 or more and takes a third card on
a total of 5 or less. If the player does draw a third card
follow the rules below to determine if the banker draws a third
- If the banker's total is less than or equal to 2 then banker
draws a card, regardless of what the player's third card is.
- If the banker's total is a 3 then banker draws another card
unless the player's third card is an 8.
- If the banker's total is a 4 then banker draws another card
unless the player's third card is a 0,1,8, or 9.
- If the banker's total is a 5 then banker draws another card
the player's third card is a 4,5,6, or 7.
- If the banker's total is a 6 then banker draws another card
the player's third card is a 6 or 7.
- If the banker's total is a 7 then banker stands.
Do not confuse the term "player" with yourself or "banker" with
the casino. They may as well be labeled "a" and "b". It is
important to know that since all of the rules of taking a third
card are predetermined you don't need to know
The odds of winning
The bank will win 45.84% of the time.
The player will win 44.61% of the time.
There will be a tie 9.54% of the time.
Taking into consideration these percentages and the 5% commission
the following are the house advantages by bet made:
Edwin Silberstang's Encyclopedia of Games & Gambling says
the house advantage on the bank is 1.17% and on the player is
1.36%. This is differs from my numbers because he is ignoring
ties while I do not.
Note: The statistics above were calculated by
considering all 4,826,809
possible combinations of 6 cards, ignoring the suit. I wrote a
computer program to play all possible combinations, consider when
and when not the third card(s) should be taken, calculate the
winner in every situation, and keep a running total. Of the
4,826,809 variations the bank won
2,212,744; the player won 2,153,464; and there was a tie the
other 460,601. If I ignored
the ties my figures would agree with Silberstang's.